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Slavery Reparations: Needed For A Stable Society Today

2005 words - 8 pages

"Do we call this the land of the free? What is it to be free from King George and continue the slaves of King Prejudice? What is it to be born free and not to live free? What is the value of any political freedom, but as a means to moral freedom? Is it a freedom to be slaves, or a freedom to be free, of which we boast? We are a nation of politicians, concerned about the outmost defenses only of freedom. It is our children's children who may perchance be really free" (Thoreau). It is a commonly agreed fact that the American Slavery that ended nearly a century and a half ago is one of the worst crimes in modern history. The pain and suffering endured by African-Americans who were kidnapped from their homelands, sent on ships halfway around the world, and forced to do very difficult labor without any payment is indeed hard to imagine. Many people believe that, as a form of apology for the virtual genocide of their ancestors, reparations should be paid to the descendents of these slaves, either from the government that allowed slavery to be in existence, or from companies that were around in the ante-bellum period that still exist today who profited from slavery. This argument has been around ever since slavery had just ended. The government seems to ignore the problem altogether. They usually deny the need for reparations, referring to slavery as a "peculiar institution". (Texeira) Some people believe that only an official apology is necessary. And still others believe that there should be no form of apology or reparations at all. According to Robert Tracinski, of the Ayn Rand Institute,An apology for slavery on behalf of the nation presumes that whites today, who predominantly oppose racism, and never owned slaves, and who bear no personal responsibility for slavery, still bear a collective responsibility--a guilt they bear simply by belonging to the same race as the slave-holders of the Old South. Such an apology promotes the very idea at the root of slavery: racial collectivism....The only justification for such an approach is the idea that each member of the race can be blamed for the actions of every other member, that we are all just interchangeable cells of the racial collective (Swain). It is true that the modern populations of people are innocent of any slavery-related crimes, as slavery was abolished nearly 150 years ago.Economic reparations should be paid to the families of former slaves.There are many people who refer to the time of slavery as the "Black Holocaust". And is it not true that reparations have been paid to former Holocaust victims? It is true that it is not America who is in charge of Holocaust reparations, but they can still be made an example of. Some find the idea of reparations strange and frivolous, but the truth is that reparations have been issued by the government before. The United States in 1971 paid reparations of $1 billion plus 4 million acres of land for the Alaska Natives Land Settlement; in 1980, $81 million...

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